Know When to Save and When to Spend
Sometimes, saving a buck now will cost you in the future [source: Salant]. A builder who gives you a lower cost per square foot may seem like a bargain, but sometimes that can portend shoddy work [source: Salant]. When you're looking at quotes, it's usually best to go with a middle of the road estimate from someone who gets good reviews on sites like Kudzu and Yelp. You're not really saving money if you have to redo the work in just a few years.
The same thing goes for sourcing materials. If you're redoing your kitchen, don't choose the cheapest appliances. Read reviews and choose efficient, quality appliances that will last longer and help reduce your energy and water bills. Opting for quality may cost more up-front, but how much did you really save if you have to replace or repair those kitchen cabinets every few years?
Saving money is great, but home construction is an investment. When you're trying to cut back on costs, it's sometimes easy to forget about your home's resale value. Laminate may look good on paper, but springing for tile or hardwood flooring makes your home more salable down the road.
Whether you're renovating a single room or considering some major home construction, the key to saving money is considering your costs at every step of the project.
Author's Note: 10 Golden Rules for Saving Money on Construction
As I'm sure you picked up on in this article, my husband and I have been through quite a few construction projects, big and small. Adding a master bedroom and bathroom along with a guest room and back deck was by far the biggest, but I think that my favorite project we took on was replacing the windows in the older part of our house.
I hadn't really considered what window replacement involved, and it was fascinating to watch the workers pop the old windows right out of the wall and put in the new ones.
You wouldn't think that replacing windows could be a gratifying project, but it really was. Our house was built in 1929, and in the winter when you sat on the living room sofa -- right in front of a large window -- you could actually feel cold air blasting you through the single pane of glass. Our temporary solution was to build a pillow fort in front of the window if we were sitting on the couch on a cold winter evening. Just being able to relax on the sofa in comfort in the middle of January made that project worth the money, and our lower heating and cooling bills were icing on the cake!
- Braley, Heide. "How to Calculate the Cost of a Home Addition." San Francisco Chronicle. (March 27, 2012) http://homeguides.sfgate.com/calculate-cost-home-addition-8768.html
- Energy Star. "Refrigerator Retirement Savings Calculator." (March 27, 2012) http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=refrig.calculator
- Gangemi, Jeffrey. "Selling Power Back to the Grid." Bloomberg Businessweek. July 6, 2006. (March 27, 2012) http://www.businessweek.com/smallbiz/content/jul2006/sb20060706_167332.htm
- Garskof, Josh. "Slash the costs of your home addition." Money Magazine. October 31, 2008. (March 19, 2012) http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/moneymag_archive/2008/11/01/105742486/
- Glave, James. "21 Ways to Save On Your Remodel." This Old House. (March 19, 2012) http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1186851-6,00.html
- Gordon, Suzanne. "Money-Saving Ideas on Target in the Off Season." Chicago Tribune. September 6, 1994. (March 27, 2012) http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1994-09-06/business/9409060014_1_remodeling-projects-homeowner
- PayScale. "Hourly Rate for Certification: General Contractor." March 22, 2012. (March 27, 2012) http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Certification=General_Contractor/Hourly_Rate
- Salant, Katherine. "Building, and looking beyond cost per square foot." Herald-Tribune. July 29, 2011. (March 19, 2012) http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20110729/ARTICLE/110729448
- WaterSense. "What is WaterSense?" (March 27, 2012) http://www.epa.gov/watersense/about_us/what_is_ws.html
CarbonCure is trying to mitigate the negative environmental impact of concrete by capturing and using CO2 emissions in the concrete itself.